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Pay It Forward: Keeping Mercer County elders in their homes

Danise Taylor works to help seniors in Mercer County stay in their homes and provides a wide range of nonmedical services. See why she won the Pay It Forward Award.

ALEDO, Ill. — Danise Taylor has been working with elderly people in Mercer County for years. Nearly 6 years ago, Taylor started her own business, Taylor Maid Home Services. 

"I was watching how much people are paying to live in a nursing home when all they really need is that extra bump to keep them at home," Taylor said.

Taylor's business provides nonmedical services to the elderly, including companionship, bathing, dressing, grooming, meal prep, laundry, housekeeping and more. Taylor said she does what she does because she doesn't "think that our seniors are getting the attention that they deserve, that they've earned. I think they get forgotten about a lot."

Taylor said her first experience of helping the elderly was as a kid, helping her mother who also worked with the elderly. But later in life that heart for helping was reinforced when another woman in her life took a chance. "I especially had a boss that gave me a chance in a nursing home," said Taylor. "She gave me a chance and taught me human compassion, more than I already had. But, it's because of her, she's molded me into the person I am today."

Taylor often uses money out of her own pocket to help people in need all year round. "I would say Thanksgiving and Christmas," said Brandy Hays, who nominated Danise for the Pay It Forward Award. "Her and her husband put together meals for anyone that needs them. This is money out of their own pocket and then they deliver them to people on Thanksgiving and Christmas day." 

In 2021 Taylor and her husband held their family holidays a week early so they could continue to make a difference for people who would be alone during the holidays. They handed out dozens of meals and gift bags, Taylor said. 

"[Elderly people] get forgotten about," Taylor said. "Some people don't want to bother with Grandma because then you have to get the walker and the wheelchair. But Grandma still has needs."

News 8's David Bohlman asked Hays, 'what is one lesson we could learn from Danise?' Hays responded, "Give of yourself. Be more gracious."

We asked Danise if she had a most impactful story of helping an elderly person. Hear her full response below:

Do you know someone like Danise that goes above and beyond for his or her community? News 8 and Ascentra Credit Union would like to help you Pay it Forward to them. Click here to nominate someone you know.